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10 Great Notebooks for Note-Taking, Grocery Lists and Doodling

Distance yourself from your phone's Notes app and get back to physical notebooks.

field notes expedition front and back

We're over the Composition notebooks of our youth. And frankly, some of us are over the Notes app on our phones and computers (though we have some tips on getting the most out of it). We rounded up 10 of the best notebooks you can buy right now. Now all you need are some pens.

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1 Five Star 3-Subject Notebook

Five Star notebooks were probably your immediate upgrade from Mead's Composition notebooks. You can break up ideas or topics among each section, and the pages are surprisingly good at preventing ink bleed, the thing that plagues most cheap notebooks. A water-resistant cover is good, in theory, but the pages are still susceptible to spilled liquids. Full-sized folder pockets are helpful additions for keeping stray papers organized.

2 Notepad

You might find "Rhodia"-emblazened notebooks and notepads all over the campus of an art school. They're also great everyday stationery. Keep these notepads on your desk to quickly scribble down some notes, and each sheet is perforated for easy detaching. Some may find the cost-per-page to be pricey for what it is, but the paper quality may justify the expense.

3 Journal Notebook, Hard Cover

Paperage makes the best-selling hardcover executive notebooks on Amazon. The company is made up notebook designing enthusiasts, and they made an affordable, first-rate notebook for those who also care about stationery. The 100gsm ivory-colored paper feels more luxurious than your standard notebook, and the pages are thread-bound so it can open flat. The cover is made of vegan leather and resists water to keep your precious notes safe. Available in a number of colors, Paperage's notebooks make a great entry-way for those getting into "luxury" notebooks.

4 Expedition 3-Pack Waterproof Notebook
Field Notes

Field Notes is one of the most popular notebook brands on the market for its utilitarian and retro-inspired look. The Expedition line of notebooks improve upon the classic's size and shape by making it waterproof and tear-proof. This is my personal choice for a travel notebook because I can slip it into my back or chest pocket. As someone who fidgets with paper and other things in my pocket, the durable paper and cover don't get all crumply like the original Field Notes books. One Amazon reviewer, who identified as a car maintenance technician, said these notebooks stand up to the muck of working at a car manufacturing plant. 

5 Classic Notebook, Hard Cover

The best thing about Moleskine's notebook is its heft. Moleskine is a classic brand in notebooks, and its hard-covered option add to its elegance and longevity. The elastic band, built-in bookmark and inner pocket are welcome additions to an already amazing notebook.

6 Simple Lined Notebook in Tangerine

Poketo, a Los Angeles-based stationery and lifestyle store, sells a range of quirky notebooks like this one with a minimalist fruit design on the cover. The 128 pages are "tree-free," which we're assuming means is made of recycled material. Buy these as a nice housewarming gift or for personal use to add some style to a boring work station. 

7 Rollbahn Spiral Notebook

Japanese brand Delfonics' line of Rollbahn notebooks were named to sound more European. The cream-colored, bordering on yellow, pages are a pleasure to write on, and the dotted paper is useful for any task.

8 Softcover B5 Dotted Notebook

This Leuchtturm1917 notebook is a favorite of Gear Patrol staffers and astronauts alike. The soft-backed journal features 121 numbered lined (easy for referncing old entries) and comes in dotted, gridded or plain pages. The book opens flat so it's easy to write on when getting close to the spine, and a rainbow of colored cover options help to differentiate between multiple notebooks. A few other add-ons — like an elastic closure, attached bookmark, folder and identifying stickers — add to the $25 price tag.

9 Lined Hardcover Notebook

A former left-handed Gear Patrol staffer called the Moo notebook the perfect notebook for left-handed people. Moo's notebooks feature a lay-flat design, which the brand attributes to "fancy Swiss binding," that makes it easy for left-handed people to write in the book without worrying about pages bouncing up. The book features thick 100gsm paper, which take well to pens and pencils, and the weight will ensure there's no ink bleeding. And for fun, there are 16 colored, unlined pages in the center of the book for worry-free doodling without tarnishing your precious notes.

10 Slim Notebook

Grovemade recently released a line of leather-bound notebooks, proving that hand-written notes will never go out of fashion. The books come in two colors and a range of sizes, whether you're looking for a desk staple or something travel-sized. At $50, they're pricier than other notebooks on the list, but you're mainly paying for the cover. Grovemade's notebooks are refillable, so over time, the cover will gain a beautiful patina. And the company didn't cheap out on the details: the leather is vegetable-tanned, and the binding is made of brass.

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